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Deputy Sheriff William Robert Hunter | Butte County Sheriff's Office, California Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

Deputy Sheriff

William Robert Hunter

Butte County Sheriff's Office, California

End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2001

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 26

Tour: 3 years

Badge # 81

Cause: Gunfire

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Offender: Also killed

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Deputy William Hunter and Lieutenant Estes were shot and killed after responding to a call involving one neighbor threatening another.

As Deputy Hunter responded to the scene, the original reporting party called back and stated that the suspect had stolen a firearm. Deputy Hunter then requested backup and Lieutenant Estes, who was in the area, volunteered and responded to the scene, arriving 19 minutes after Deputy Hunter.

Deputy Hunter entered the cabin where he was ambushed by the suspect as he walked around the corner just inside the front door. The suspect shot him in the head, fatally wounding him. When Lieutenant Estes entered the cabin, he exchanged shots with the suspect at a range of three feet. Lieutenant Estes' weapon was found with one round remaining and had been jammed when it was struck by one of the suspect's rounds. The exchange of gunfire between Lieutenant Estes and the suspect left both men fatally wounded.

When dispatch was unable to reach either officer, additional units were sent by the California Highway Patrol. When they arrived, they located both cruisers parked in front of the small cabin. The sheriff's department's SWAT team was then called out. After firing tear gas, entry was made into the home where the bodies of Deputy Hunter, Lieutenant Estes, and the suspect were located. The suspect was described as a survivalist who was often seen carrying weapons.

Deputy Hunter had been employed with the Butte County Sheriff's Department for three years.

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Related Line of Duty Deaths

Lieutenant Leonard Bruce Estes
Butte County Sheriff's Office, California
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2001
Cause: Gunfire

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It's been nearly 14 years since that terrible day. My daughter, who was just 2 at the time, and I were discussing PTSD for a class that she is taking at Butte College. We talked about the war in Afghanistan and the soldiers coming home. I was explaining PTSD to her, and then she asked me if I had it. In an instant I was transported back to Inskip. I remember the darkness and the fear. I remember hoping that when we breached the cabin we would find you and Larry being held hostage, and then the sadness at finding you both. I remember fighting back tears as I went into the cabin again once it was secured to see if anything could be done for either of you, and then the determination not to let anyone else see my tears as I tended to the members of the team, checking on their mental and physical state. I remember driving down the hill and then hearing a call dispatched in Oroville for a man running around threatening people with an axe, and the immediate anger that I felt that someone was threatening other members of my BCSO family. I remember getting home at 4 am and not being able to sleep. I remember my son, who was 5 asking my wife what was wrong with daddy when he got up to see me as I was getting ready for work. I remember getting to one of my stations and talking with my EMS crew, and then completely breaking down and crying nearly uncontrollably when the story came on the news. I remember sitting through your funeral and feeling full of regret that I had not been able to help you in your time of need. Even now, after all this time, I feel empty when I think of that night. But in the end, I remember your ever present smile, and it gives me hope.

Gone but never forgotten.

Mickey Huber, Deputy Sheriff (Res.)
Butte County Sheriff's Office
June 29, 2015


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